To be more precise and descriptive in your Portuguese conversations, it’s important to master Portuguese advérbios Play slow audio Play normal audio adverbs. But what are they? Simply put, adverbs are words which modify other words – verbs, adjectives, and sometimes even other adverbs. They add to the meaning or clarify the manner in which a word applies to the rest of the sentence.
When an adverb modifies a verb, it tells us how the action is being carried out.
O João canta bem. Play slow audio Play normal audio João sings well.
The adverb bem Play slow audio Play normal audio well tells us more about the manner in which João carries out the action (singing).
When an adverb modifies an adjective, it tells us how, or to what degree, the adjective applies to its noun.
A Maria é extremamente talentosa. Play slow audio Play normal audio Maria is extremely talented.
The adverb extremamente Play slow audio Play normal audio extremely modifies the adjective talentosa Play slow audio Play normal audio talented to tell us that Maria is not only talented, but the degree to which she is talented is very high. Keep an eye out for other Portuguese adverbs that end in -mente, as they often correspond to English adverbs that end in -ly.
Modifying Other Adverbs
Just as with adjectives, when an adverb modifies another adverb, it modifies the degree or manner in which the other adverb is used.
Não entendi nada, ela fala muito depressa. Play slow audio Play normal audio I didn’t understand anything, she talks very quickly.
The adverb muito Play slow audio Play normal audio very is modifying the adverb depressa Play slow audio Play normal audio quickly, so not only do we know how she talks (quickly), but also the degree to which she does so (very).
There are also locuções adverbiais Play slow audio Play normal audio adverbial phrases, which are simply phrases made up of more than one word that act as an adverb.
Não tarda vou-me embora. Play slow audio Play normal audio I’ll be leaving in a bit.
In Portuguese, just as in English, there are many forms of adverbs and adverbial phrases that modify words on many different levels: time, place, mode, quantity, intensity, affirmation, denial, doubt, and exclusivity.
Oh, and remember: adverbs are always invariable! Unlike many other Portuguese words, this means that they only have one form. In other words, they do not change form based on the number or gender of the words they modify.
Types of Adverbs
There are so many different types of Portuguese adverbs and we will cover (and let you practice!) each type throughout multiple units: Adverbs 1 (this unit), Adverbs 2, and Adverbs 3. These include adverbs of place, adverbs of manner, adverbs of time, adverbs of degree, and more. Here are some of the topics we’ll cover:
- Here vs there (Choosing aqui, cá, aí, lá, ali, or acolá depending on the distance from the speaker and listener)
- In, out, in front, behind, etc
- Above, below, etc
- Near, far, and other adverbs of place
- More, less, and other adverbs of degree
- A lot, a little, and other adverbs of degree
- The many meanings of the adverb já
- Almost, always, and other adverbs of time
- Well, poorly, and other adverbs of manner